Hi, Grammar Girl. This is Chuck Tomasi, your interim Grammar Guy from ChuckChat.com, home of podcasts too numerous to mention. I hear and see examples of the misuse of the word “myself” all the time. For example, an e-mail went out from HR like this, “Please contact Squiggly, Aardvark, or myself with questions.” Could you please help listeners know when the word “myself” is appropriate and when to use a more appropriate word? Thanks!
Excellent, Chuck! Let’s dissect what’s wrong with that sentence: “Please contact Squiggly, Aardvark, or myself with questions.” The simplest way to think of it is like this: How would you say the sentence without Squiggly and Aardvark? Then it usually becomes obvious! You would say, “Please contact me with questions,” not, “Please contact myself with questions.” When you add in Squiggly and Aardvark, it doesn’t change anything. It’s still correct to say, “Please contact Squiggly, Aardvark, or me with questions.”
What Are Reflexive Pronouns?
Digging into the topic a little deeper, “myself” is what’s called a reflexive pronoun. That can be hard to remember, but just think about looking in a mirror and seeing your reflection. You’d say, “I see myself in the mirror.” You see your reflection, and “myself” is a reflexive pronoun. That’s how I remember the name. See More . . .